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sda loyalist
Oh yes, thanks a lot for that. Smiley I've been running using the keyboard and OpenGL D1X 1.43 so far... I really don't like joysticks. Cheesy

Glad someone else is interested, though... I'm no expert, as you can see from my demos. I did realise 5 difficulties might be a bit much, but I've found Hotshot and Ace are pretty different. Not so for Trainee/Rookie though.

Oh, and... nice demonstration of the strafing/chording technique, Vile. I'll try and work this into my existing runs before they become outdated. Smiley
Edit history:
Avder: 2005-08-03 03:39:24 pm
Personal Text!
Trust me on this, the only way you'll be able to get very far in some of the more difficult levels without being an outright master of Descent is if theyre played as part of a full-game run, just due to the fact of the sheer size of the robot mobs that occupy some of the later levels.

That said, the best way to do a run of the later levels without come through the whole game would possibly start by locating a fusion cannon, that gun alone can level the playing field quite nicely.

And also, just for a field of reference, while trichording its possible to run with a homing missile directly behind you for quite a long time.  There are several demos of this floating about in the established descent community.  The speeds that can be reached while chording properly are quite extreme, and if I had a place on the web to upload some files I'd offer up a few popular multiplayer levels and some of the chording demos that have been recorded in them just so you guys have a reference.

A little more help for you guys, if I can remember it right anyway, the full damage table:

Quad Laser 4: 52 (13*4)
Vulcan Cannon: 4 per shot fired (the clicking noise, not the numerical count of ammo left)
Spreadfire Cannon: 9 per bolt, 27 total
Plasma Cannon: 11 per bolt, 22 total
Fusion Cannon: Well in excess of 100 when full charged

Concussion Missile: 25
Homing Missile: 25
Proximity Mine: 25
Smart Missile: Each bolt does around 20, I think
Mega Missile: Around 150 for a full force impact, plus a huge splash area.

I could be way off on a few of them, but I think I'm at least in ballpark range with most of them.  I'm a lot more certain about primary damage than I am about secondary. I know the laser, plasma, and vulcan cannon numbers are right for sure.  Odd that I'm not sure about spreadfire, and it used to be my favorite weapon, too! heh.

Anyway, if you guys want, I'll help coach a bit as you learn the game, and possibly offer a few demos myself if I can get my joystick to work right on this comp.  The basic stuff that Ive seen in pretty much all speed running applies to this game: get only essential items and kill only what you need to kill to stay alive and get through the level.

Oh, also, in each difficulty the value of shield orbs decreases by 3 points.  In hot shot one is worth 12, in Ace 9, and in Insane 6.  The good news is obviously you'll be repaired before the start of each level, the bad news is it will be harder to stay above 100 shields the higher you go difficultywise, as well as needing to dodge faster and use weapons more effectivly.

AS for what to look for in each level, I would reccomend a checklist similar to the following:
-The location of all Vulcan Bots
-The location of all Red Hulks
-The location of all needed keycards (The order will always be the same: Blue-Yellow-Red for a 3 key map, Blue-Red for a two key map, or just Red for a one key map)
-The location of shield caches
-fusion cannon locations
-Invuln/cloak powerups
-Traps (where if you fly through something, doors open up and enemies come out in ambush, or knowing where you need tt fly to trigger a materialization center (mat-cen for short)
-Shortest route between the reactor and the exit
-Whats guarding the reactor
-Whos on,wait a minute!
-Weapons caches that arent too out of the way of the route
-Smart Missiles

Ok, so the checklist is a bit longer than I had intended, and its not in order of priority, but thats a general idea of what you will need to know about a level before you can effectivly run it.

Levels 1-7 will be the easiest to run.  These were the maps released in the shareware version of descent and dont contain any weapons above the plasma cannon or proximity mine, but they dont  contain a lot of the meaner enemies (with the exceotion of red hulks and vulcan bots....but their useage isnt as sadistic as in later levels).

There are three secret levels in the game, so if you want to do the most complete run, you need to do these.  The entrance to secret levels will be a hidden exit that wont be as obvious to find as a standard exit, but it will always be in range of the reactor.

Also, the higher up in difficulty you go, the less time you get to escape after nailing the reactor.  I believe you get 30 seconds on Insane.  Thats plenty for the early levels, but on later on you WILL need to be abel to execute the route to the exit quickly and with your ship shaking violently.

Just let me know if you guys have any more questions if you need help with something.  I'm always happy to help get an underapreciated game some much needed attention.

Also, trust me, if youre serious about getting good at this game, get a joystick. It makes things a lot easier (more buttons availible, analog control of all 3 axes, etc). Theyre difficult to get used to at first, yes, but it makes movement so much easier in the long run.
Edit history:
Lag.Com: 2005-08-03 05:21:57 pm
sda loyalist
I just finished my run of Level 10, but my host is playing silly buggers, so I guess I'll upload it later today. I know a lot of the single-player things that you're mentioning... that's part of planning my route! You can see that I clear out the big main room of vulcan robots/homer hulks, though I leave the cloaked conc hulk, as he never hits. I try to take out all the red hulks I can while cloaked or invuln... also I'm doing some chording in two directions, which helped the time a little I'm sure. Doing chording in three is a nightmare on the keyboard, as if I press any other buttons, the buffer gets full, and it starts beeping at me. Smiley

Feh! Every level after 8 gives you one of each weapon, if I remember rightly. Not necessarily near the fastest route, but you get the idea. Smart/Mega missiles are definitely a help, though I didn't think it was worth grabbing the one on level 10.

And yeah, I know about secret levels. 8) I took the secret exit on this latest demo, hehe. It's closer after all.

Edit: Host back up now, uploading as I write.
I don't know why the discussion on joy sticks triggered this memory, but does anybody remember the game: High Octane?

It's a REALLY REALLY old futuristic racing game. If I remember, you just collect weapons and stuff and you can shoot your opponents on the race track. Damn that game was fun to play. I think they made an actual car racing game called High Octane recently, but the one I remember is awesome and totally old school. Seeing a speed run of THAT would be awesome o.o
Personal Text!
Ive been playing a little bit on hotshot, mostly seeing how far I can survive in to the game, and I'm getting to about level 7 or so before I'm finally killed.  I'd have demos, but my version of d1x likes to crash after the demo exceeds 16 megs in size for some reason.

That said, I think the three most important difficulties for speed running will of course be Trainee, Hotshot, and Insane. Eventually, if people do manage to get good at this game, I think trainee shouldnt even be used as a serious speed run.  I also think there should be two main categories: pure speed and 100%.  A 100% run in a descent level should consist of destroying the reactor, getting all the hostages, and never ever dying.  A 100% run, if done single segment, should also incude the three secret levels, whereas a pure speed run should probably pass them by as the only objective is to complete the game.
sda loyalist
pocari: I played Hi-Octane a lot when it came out. Smiley So yes, I remember it pretty well. Especially the awesome sound it makes when your ship blows up.

avder: It's somewhat of a tradition I've kept over from Quake speedrunning, where you have runs on Easy or Nightmare... because Descent has 5 difficulties instead of 4, I'd say Easy, Medium and Nightmare are runnable, Easy to see the theoretical best time for a level. That translates to Trainee, Hotshot, Insane... I'll knock off the middle difficulties and add 100% columns to the table instead.
As for the single segment runthrough... I'm working on a program to 'glue' demos together that will be used in the QDQ-style project; so if you stop recording your demo, save it, then immediately start recording another one, they can be stuck together later. Not elegant I know, but better than crashing Descent. Smiley
Personal Text!
I plan on doing something like that.  When I'm ready to start the run, I'll start recording on level one, get all hostages, blow reactor, advance to level 2,  stop demo, save, restart demo.

That way its just like a multisegment run.  If the only place youre allowed to save at is immediately after the level starts.  The exception would be some of the levels where you spawn with enemies shooting at you (levels 6 and 7, for example).  In that case you should either do multiple levels on a segment or possibly clear out a safe area very near the start and save/restart demo there.

Verification in this game should be rather easy as well.  The next segment must start with the player having the same view as when the last segment ended, the score must be the same, number of lives must be the same, energy, shields, and listed ammunition must be the same from segment to segment.

I'm gonna start working on a hotshot 100% run I think to start things off.  I'll probably have to redo every level a bajillion times since I'm so rusty, but whatever.
sda loyalist
My demo parser is now close to completion; it's run through the demos for levels 1-10 with no problem; I still need mesh numbers etc. for later robots though, so I can't release it yet.
Gluing support is being added right now... however, the 'clearing out' of a room would not work with it currently. I'll try, shouldn't be too difficult to change.

Nice to hear that you're considering starting it. Smiley

The demo format also saves amounts of all types of ammunition, so I can automate verification. Cheesy
I want to play Hi-octane so badly o_O
sda loyalist
Agh, due to the way demo files track ammo usage, it's very difficult to track it throughout a demo; it only saves what the UI needs, for example...
You have 1 smart missile, you fire it.
In the DEM file is saved...
    Change secondary weapon to 1 (Homing Missiles)
    Change current secondary ammo to X (how many homers you have)

This might seem a bit obvious that the player has run out of smarts, but no information pertaining to it is in the DEM file... the best I can do is check if a new object is now being rendered with a certain model... or maybe see if the secondary ammo changes by a strange amount. Blah, I'll see what I can do. Of course, it's pretty obvious by viewing for secondary weapons, but it might be important for Vulcan ammo.
what are you trying to "validate"?

if you want to check if any given demo file is possible to create by playing decent (i.e. there was no cheating by demo manipulations) you'll run into much more problems than this. Confirming pickups (easy), checking if player speeds are possible (not trivial), checking if the player flew through a wall (go implement the whole physics engine. have fun!) and even deciding if the monster AI was legit (even more fun!).
I've tried something similar for quake 3, it's just a lot of work to get anywhere near relyable, and it can still be outsmarted if you try.

This can be totally avoided if you decide to trust the players.

If you just wish to create a tool to modify single-level-demos into matching together in a continous run (qdq-style), I don't see any problems with the ammo information contained in the demo.  Huh?
sda loyalist
Second choice, Tub.

And, it's the way in which it's done that messes it up, as it only reports information on the current weapon... I've put in a few fixes to make my program track it better, and should be working fully tomorrow.
All this still doesn't excuse the fact that Hi-octane is awesome shit.
18 to the diablo2 holy grail
i have descent and loved it, although when i got it, was YEARS ago, and back then i played doom etc via keyboard and pretty much didn't even strafe in doom Tongue so for the 3d movement it sucked and i did get to level 7 .. to the boss .. and no further Tongue espeicially since your trapped in that room.

sigh, descent 2 seemed fun as well, and loved the helper bot to find the keys, reactor etc etc. cuz some levels could be hard to learn.
Once again, Hi-Octane is awesome shi- Ok I'm done  Lips Sealed
Edit history:
stx-Vile: 2005-08-05 03:53:58 am
The man made of sticks
I'm having similar problems recording single-segment runs.  D1X 1.43 and 1.42 both crashed after getting close to 20,000K.... so I assume the closest to doing an SS is recording straight to AVI with Fraps, which I'd really rather not do.

Well, one alternative would be stopping and restarting until the whole thing is finished, but I wouldn't be able to prove that it was single-segment anymore... might as well just wait until we're ready to do a chained project.
I would so do a SS run, but I don't like playing the game once I hit level 4... =\
sda loyalist
stx-Vile: Because of the way frame counts/gametime is saved into the DEMo files, I probably could verify it, of course... visually is usually enough. Smiley

My gluing program is pretty much done, except it does very odd things with vulcan ammo (working on it). It also has a 'quick glue' option which literally sticks the demos together, without updating stats inbetween levels; this mode will make compiling a single player marathon easy. I've managed to play BACK very large demo files (60MB+), so it only seems to be a bug in recording.
I'd love to do a complete marathon of the game. Of course I would have to actually beat it....
Been away for a while. :|

Very nice work on the runs! Grin I haven't had a chance to fiddle with the PSX version, as life is quite insane lately (for the better), but I doubt I could do any better.
Edit history:
stx-Vile: 2005-08-07 08:24:53 am
The man made of sticks
That PSX music is good stuff, I have to say.... I didn't play the PSX version, so I'll just say my... mp3 player found them for me.

I ditched the SS idea and started a Hotshot collection... only the first level done, but I've made it a point to do an acceptable job rather than going all out with the second-squeezing like the Serious Sam runs.  I just want a solid effort with the complete table.

I suppose that skill 4 Final Doom contribution is on the back burner.  My original plan was to hit the levels as I recorded the avis to see if I could improve them, so it wasn't going to be a simple avi project.  I'm sure I'll get around to it, though.
Edit history:
elbryan42: 2005-08-07 09:16:01 am
Yeah, I have plenty on my plate right now (FAQs, sites, my EWJ run, and well, life), to have to do Descent run as well. I mean, I could do it, but the current speedruns are more than awesome already.

Not to mention that Level 7 boss owns me almost everytime.  :-/ The last boss is easy though.
sda loyalist
Well, always good to see more faces. Smiley I haven't had any trouble running YET (though Level 10 did kill me a lot, damn reactor room)... but then again I've been on Trainee. I will do 11 and 12 soon, by the way.
I almost have no time for speed runs. Actually, that's sort of a lie. But since summer is closing and I have to go back to school THIS MONTH, I'm trying to squeeze in as much "hanging out" time as possible. Besides, I'm working on beating Spider-Waffle's single segment time for HLSP Bunny and my UT run.
Edit history:
stx-Vile: 2005-08-08 11:14:40 pm
The man made of sticks
Hotshot progress:

01 / Lunar Outpost - 0:29 - AVI
02 / Lunar Scilab - 1:14 - AVI